This post was months in the making and took two interns and myself to put together. I get so many questions regarding sweeteners, like "which is the best?," "can I actually give stevia to my kids?," "are these artificial sweeteners so bad?" and hopefully I helped answer these questions in the infographic above.

And yes, stevia is totally safe and wonderful to give to your children, but I still encourage you wean them off of a sweet dependence and encourage more savory and earthy vegetable-based meals more often.

And yes, artificial sweeteners are really really so bad for you and your family so please read food labels (on even innocent items like your toothpaste and chewing gum) and avoid these chemicals as much as possible.

Resources:

1. Pepino, M. Y., Tiemann, C. D., Patterson, B. W., Wice, B. M., & Klein, S. (2013). Sucralose Affects Glycemic and Hormonal Responses to an Oral
Glucose Load. Diabetes Care, 36(9), 2530-2535. doi:10.2337/dc12-2221

2. Rogers, P. J., Hogenkamp, P. S., Graaf, C. D., Higgs, S., Lluch, A., Ness, A. R., . . . Mela, D. J. (2015). Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect
energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. Int J Obes Relat
Metab Disord International Journal of Obesity, 40(3), 381-394. doi:10.1038/ijo.2015.177

3. What Is Stevia? (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/39601-stevia- facts-safety.html#sthash.19hgM9ol.dpuf

4. Schernhammer ES, Bertrand KA, Birmann BM, Sampson L, Willett WC, Feskanich D. Consumption of artificial sweetener- and sugar-containing
soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1419-28. Epub 2012 Oct 24. Erratum in: Am J Clin
Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):512.

5. Cong W, Wang R, Cai H, et al. Long-Term Artificial Sweetener Acesulfame Potassium Treatment Alters Neurometabolic Functions in C57BL/6J
Mice. Matsunami H, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(8):e70257. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070257.

6. Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. The Yale Journal of
Biology and Medicine. 2010;83(2):101-108.

7. Mattes RD, Popkin BM. Nonnutritive sweetener consumption in humans: effects on appetite and food intake and their putative mechanisms. Am
J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1–14.

8. Brown RJ, de Banate MA, Rother KI. Artificial Sweeteners: A systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. [Epub 18 Jan 2010];Int J Pediatr
Obes.

Additional Resources:

http://www.livescience.com/39601-stevia- facts-safety.html#sthash.19hgM9ol.dpuf
http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Aspartame.html
http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p42.shtml
http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page10.htm
Ling Yeouruenn, A New Compendium of Materia Medica, 1995 Science Press, Beijing
http://www.diabetes.org/food-and- fitness/food/what-can- i-eat/understanding- carbohydrates/sugar-alcohols.html
https://www.ynhh.org/services/nutrition/sugar-alcohol.aspx
http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and- conditions/glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007492.htm
http://sweetleaf.com/about/stevia-2/